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School board scheduled to vote on charters involved in alleged cheating

March 1, 2011 |  6:00 am

The Los Angeles Board of Education is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to reauthorize two charter schools that were involved in a cheating scandal last year.

The new contracts for Crescendo charter schools in Gardena and Hawthorne are for one year rather than the five-year pacts specified in state law for charters, which are publicly financed but independently managed. In the aftermath of the alleged cheating, the schools should have only two alternatives, Deputy Supt. John Deasy wrote in a memo to board members Monday: a one-year renewal or no renewal at all.

Deasy's memo overruled a staff recommendation for a full five-year renewal for the schools. Deasy will become the L.A. schools superintendent in mid-April, when current chief Ramon C. Cortines retires.

Deasy distributed his memo Monday in the wake of a Times story recounting the alleged cheating, which apparently occurred at all six schools operated by Crescendo under orders from then-executive director John Allen. Allen was suspended for six months and demoted but remains a Crescendo administrator. He has not responded to calls and written questions.

Crescendo administrators allegedly ordered teachers to cheat on state standardized tests by using the actual test questions as study guides, according to a district investigation. State officials have invalidated the test results for the 2010 exams.

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-- Howard Blume

California Schools Guide

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